Fueling Up On Water

Fueling Up On Water

It’s our body’s vital fuel, a health drink from Mother Nature. It’s calorie-free, inexpensive and easily obtained. Yet, few people follow the old fashion advice to drink eight glasses of water per day.  Fueling up on water is key to ensuring your body functions optimally.

Does the average American drink enough water?

Most people drink when they are thirsty, but the beverage of choice tends to be some other drink besides water. Americans drink two or three glasses of plain water a day, according to a U.S Department of Agriculture study done in the late 1970s. Based on an analysis on all fluid intake by adults, water consumption is said to total about two quarts per day, and this includes water from foods and other beverages. It is usually not necessary to actually swallow two quarts of plain water every day, but people with special problems such as kidney conditions might be exceptions.

How much bottled water do we drink?

Americans drink eight gallons of bottled water per year, roughly two ounces or a quarter cup a day, according to the International Bottled Water Association. Californians drink three times the national average of bottled water, downing 24 gallons per year, or nearly a cup a day. Climate and seasons of the year play a role in one’s thirst as well, and just as we tend to perspire more in the summer months, we also tend to drink more water.

What are the benefits of drinking more water?

According to many experts, boosting intake of plain water makes good sense because water eases digestion and regulates body temperature. Water also bathes the cells and accounts for about 60 percent of body weight. Additionally, it can help us exercise longer and more efficiently. Drinking water can ward off constipation and maybe even crankiness. Since it’s a natural appetite suppressant, water can help us lose weight and keep it off. It can help keep skin healthy as well, although it won’t necessarily banish acne.

Who should drink water?

We all should, but pregnant women, nursing mothers, and athletes should be especially careful to drink a sufficient amount. Upping water intake is also wise when it is hot or humid. There are certain workers who seem to have a more difficult time developing the water-drinking habit. Among those who don’t normally drink enough water are teachers, airline attendants and nurses.

Water and Exercise

Drinking fluids, particularly water, during exercise reduces cardiovascular stress and improves performance. After a strenuous workout, you have to replace the fluids you have lost or you will suffer chronic dehydration. Drink water before, during and after exercising. Remember, water reduces body temperature and makes the whole exercise process safer.

Water is vital for kidney health.

Water can be especially helpful for people with a history of kidney stones because it dissolves calcium in the urine, reducing the risk of stone formation. It is also interesting to note that water helps prevent urinary tract infections, both for men and women. Among physicians, urologists are probably the most likely to extol the virtues of water. As a tip, it has been documented that drinking water mostly before 6pm can reduce the likelihood of nocturnal bathroom visits.

Alternative ways to track water intake.

Too busy to count how many glasses a day you drink? There are other ways to calculate if your intake is sufficient. Dark-colored urine often suggests you are not drinking enough water. Get into the habit by starting with a glass of water with every meal, then work in a cup in between meals.

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Lifting Weights Is Necessary For Weight Loss

Lifting Weights Is Necessary For Weight Loss

Is it really true that lifting weights is necessary for weight loss?

When most people think of losing weight, they think that starving themselves and doing excessive amounts of cardio is the answer. While some of this is true, most of it is not. Lifting weights is also a necessary component of a weight loss program. Losing weight is one of the most popular fitness goals in America due to a lack of exercise and improper nutrition which leads to poor health and weight gain. Nutrition is about 75% of the process when it comes to achieving your fitness goal. Whether it is losing weight or gaining weight, people need to spend more time dialing in their nutrition to make sure that they stack on track.

How Much Does Working Out Contribute to Weight Loss?

Working out we’ll say is the other 25%. That doesn’t mean that you should just do a bunch of slow-paced, long duration cardiovascular exercise and assume that will do the trick. It’s important to have a good program in place- preferably from an experienced, certified personal trainer- to make sure that you get the best results possible. People neglect weight training when trying to lose weight for many reasons.

The most popular reason is because the weight room is intimidating. Nobody wants to look like a fool amongst people they perceive as expert; regardless if they are actually experts or not. A popular reason amongst women is for fear of looking “too bulky”. EATING AN EXCESS AMOUNT OF CALORIES MAKES YOU BULKY, NOT WEIGHT LIFTING!!!! It takes many years of hard work to put on the amount of muscle that makes you look “bulky”.Muscle burns more calories than fat, so the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism is and therefore, the easier it is to lose fat.

Will Lifting Weights Slow Down My Weight Loss?

Typically when people start lifting weights for the first time, they can gain a lot of muscle because it is a new stimulus for the body which in turn can seem to “slow down” your weight loss. But here’s the cool thing, even though the scale may not be moving when you first start lifting weight, it’s because you might be building a little muscle and burning a little fat! The measurement that will determine if this is this case is your body fat percentage measurement. Regardless of what the scale says, you always want your body fat percent to go down. Another way to see if you’re losing fat is your circumference measurements.

What Is An Easy Way To Tell If I Am Losing Fat?

Usually if your waist measurement goes down, that’s a very good thing! When people neglect lifting weights, their metabolism might increase a little bit but it’s short-lived and they’re not building muscle so there’s a good chance of losing lean body weight which leads to a decrease in metabolism. At this point, you’re a hamster in a wheel, working hard but going nowhere! In my weight loss programs, I always have my clients work with weights!

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6 Steps to Achieve Any Fitness Goal

6 Steps to Achieve Any Fitness Goal

There are a few things that everyone should do to achieve their fitness goals regardless of what they are. Follow these 6 steps to achieve any fitness goal.

1. Eat a healthy balanced diet

While this may seem the most obvious on the surface, this is the one thing most people choose to neglect over everything. What you put into your mouth is about 75% of your fitness program; QUIT NEGLECTING IT!!! If you are looking to gain some muscle mass then you will want to eat more calories than you consume. If you are looking to lose weight then burn more calories than you consume. You also want to make sure that you are eating low-glycemic foods (foods that will not spike your blood sugar). This is a bigger problem than people eating too much fatty foods because a good portion of the time, these foods are labeled “fat-free!”

2. Weight/Resistance Train

To achieve any fitness goal whether weight loss or muscle gain, you should be lifting weight at least 2 times per week but preferably three. People who are looking to gain muscle should eventually work their way up to 4-5 days of resistance training per week. Building muscle will help increase your metabolic rate which will help you burn more fat! Weight training also helps build strength, improve balance, increase core strength and help you look better!

3. Sleep

Our body needs sleep in order to recover from the events of that day. If you do not get at least 7 hours of sleep per night, you won’t properly recover and impairs you physical and mental function the next day. Not getting enough sleep can also lead to an increase in appetite and unwanted weight gain.

4. Drink Water

A very easy way to determine how much water you should be drinking is dividing your body weight by 2 and that number gives you the ounces of water you should be drinking each day. For example, if you weigh 180 pounds, you should drink 90 ounces of water daily. Your body is at least 50-60% water so do not deprive your body of half of its makeup!

5. Improve flexibility/mobility

Improving flexibility can be done a couple of different ways, but the way that has been most effective for me is yoga. I do not do as much yoga as I probably should but I have always gotten my best results when I implemented yoga into my fitness program 2-3 times per week. Yoga is also great for improving core strength and stability. Stretching is another good way to keep your muscles flexible and strong. Static stretching should NEVER be done BEFORE you work out! This may actually increase your chance of injury! Opt for dynamic/active warm-ups BEFORE you work out and static stretching AFTER your workout.

6. Cardio

Most people understand the benefits of cardiovascular work and that it should be done 5-6 days per week ideally. The fitness goal I would like to focus on here is the muscle gainers. YOU STILL NEED TO DO CARDIO WHILE BULKING!!! Just because you are trying to gain weight and put on muscle does not mean that you should stop taking care of your heart! Now this does not mean you should be doing 5-6 days of cardio per week. Doing cardio does not translate into “losing gains”, if you eat more calories than you burn then you will still gain weight.

The bonus of doing 2-3 days of cardio per week while bulking is that you can fight off the fat gain to a degree and still put on muscle! The scale may not move as fast as you want it to but A) the scale does not tell much of the story of your progress and B) what good does it do to gain weight there is not any muscle mass accompanying it?

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5 Ways to Annihilate Your Workout

5 Ways to Annihilate Your Workout

We are always looking for ways to progress our workouts to challenge ourselves. Here are 5 ways to annihilate your workout the next time you step into the gym.

Workout with a Partner

Working out with a partner can dramatically impact your fitness program. Having a source of accountability in anything, whether, fitness, job, etc. can help keep you motivated and improve your performance. While having a buddy is great, you still have to make sure that they are the right workout partner for you.

People who have a poor attitude, are negative, have completely different goals or do just the bare minimum are not good workout partners for you. The whole point of having a workout buddy is to help motivate you and push you to that next level. You will want to find someone that has the same or at least similar goals, has a strong sense of accountability for themselves, and obviously someone who has a similar schedule as you. I was fortunate enough to have a workout buddy for a year who was just as nuts as I was because we had the same drive and same goals we were striving to achieve. Since I have been working out solo, it has been difficult to get the same results.

Keep a Journal

Yes, I am secure enough to proudly admit that I have done this myself and it works quite well! Now this isn’t a journal about the love of your life you let get away or the person at the gym you thought was cute. This is a workout journal where you reflect upon your workout and see what you can improve on the next workout.

Say Your Excuses in Your Head with the Voice of Donald Duck

I know, this seems a little weird, but before you judge, try it out. I was pretty skeptical when I first tried it, but it is actually pretty effective. It makes your excuses sound silly and childish and it helps you push through your workout.

End Your Workout with a Burnout

Ending your workout while giving every ounce of energy you have left can really help keep you motivated. I know when I really take it up a notch at the end of my workouts, I always feel great afterwards and it can actually help you boost through a plateau! It helps boost through a plateau because if you can go all out at the end of a tough workout, that means you should have the energy to start out faster or stronger next time!

Decrease Your Rest Time Gradually

This seems rather obvious, but this is also where a lot of people tend to go wrong. Often times people try to decrease rest time too fast (going from 60 seconds rest to 15 seconds rest). While this isn’t necessarily wrong, it can hinder you because the intensity increased too much and your nervous system will be taxed a little longer than normal. Decreasing rest time by even 5-10 seconds every couple of weeks will still yield results, but it will also guard against burning out too quickly.

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5 Workout Myths Debunked!

5 Workout Myths Debunked!

There are a plethora of fitness myths circulating these days. Check out these 5 workout myths debunked!

1. Only Work Your Abs to Get a Strong Core

As I mentioned in my article “What Is Your Core?” building a strong, stable core is NOT done by working ONLY your abdominals. Building a strong core also involves strengthening the lower back muscles, glutes and all the muscles that help you stay upright. With this said, this does not mean that you should neglect your abdominals, they still need to be worked just like every other muscle.

2. Squats are Bad for Your Knees

Squats are one of the best exercises anyone can do to improve core and total body strength. Often times, squats are done incorrectly and people tend to injure their knees first. When performing squats, you must first sit your hips back like you are sitting into a chair. Frequently, people will want to only bend their knees first which is where the knee problems come into play. Also, you want to ensure that your weight is in the center of your foot. Make sure you have a qualified, experienced personal trainer assess your squat from before you start performing squats on your own.

3. To Gain Muscle, You Must Eat Mostly Protein

Eating an excessive amount of protein does not mean that you will put on more muscle mass. While you should be eating a little over 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight to gain muscle mass, carbohydrates are your best friend while putting on size and improving strength. When you lift weights, you primarily use carbohydrates for your energy source. What happens when you do not eat enough carbohydrates? Your body will need to produce the carbohydrates necessary by converting protein to glycogen so you can use it for energy. This is a very inefficient way for your body to operate and can take a toll on your body in the long run. People who eat low-carb, high-protein diets do not produce greater muscle gains.

4. Deadlifts are Bad for Your Back

Deadlifts done incorrectly are bad for your back. When done correctly, deadlifts make be the single best exercise anyone can perform. Deadlifts work nearly every muscle in your body, strengthens your core and improves your functional strength. Also, due to the amount of muscle mass used during a deadlift it burns more calories than most exercises. It is EXTREMELY important to be taught proper form on a deadlift by an experienced, qualified personal trainer so that you do not injure yourself.

5. Stretch Before Your Workout to Prevent Injury

Static stretching before a workout is the most popular way people attempt to warm up before a workout. However, studies are now showing there is no evidence that stretching before a workout reduces the risk for injury. In fact, some studies even show that it may INCREASE your risk for injury if you only static stretch before a workout. Dynamic stretches/exercises are a much more effective and safer way to warm up before you start your workout.

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What Rep Range is Best for Me?

What Rep Range is Best for Me?

With so much information out there, it is understandable to ask, “What rep range is best for me?” Like many other topics I have discussed, this one has a  broad answer, it depends on what you want to accomplish. Below I have broken down the most common goals with rep ranges that are associated with it:

  • Strength- 1-6 reps
  • Muscle Hypertrophy (size)- 6-12 reps
  • Muscular Endurance- 12+ reps

It is also important to remember that these rep ranges are not exclusive in that only that one thing can be accomplished in that rep range. For example, if you are doing a program where you are doing 4-6 reps to gain strength, does not mean that you won’t experience muscle hypertrophy. Likewise, just because you are doing a muscle hypertrophy focused program does not mean that you will not be able to increase your endurance or strength. These are broad categories but let me break it down a little more for you.

Strength

When you talk about strength gains in this context, you can think more like Powerlifting, Olympic lifting or Strongman training. When you are training to increase your strength, the most common movements that produce the best results are your Deadlifts, Squats, Cleans, Snatches, Bench Press, etc. If you train in this rep range are likely training for a competition of some sort and can usually put up some serious weight.

What you will also notice is that these Powerlifters or Olympic lifters come in all shapes and sizes. That is because big muscles do not always reflect strength! That may seem odd but it’s true. You will see 300 pound bodybuilders that may squat 500 pounds but it is not unusual to see a 170 pound powerlifter squat that and even more. Why is that? Strength is actually more of a neurological adaption as opposed to a muscular adaptation. Yes, in general, the more muscle a person has the stronger they will likely be, but depending on how they train and eat, strength will vary.

Muscle Hypertrophy

Muscle hypertrophy is the most common goal amongst people when they start working out. When you have muscular hypertrophy, you will see an increase in muscle size as well as some strength gains. The muscle hypertrophy range is what most bodybuilders and fitness models do to increase their muscle size. I personally have seen great results in muscle gains in this category with my clients and myself and is the “base” rep range for most people.

Muscular Endurance

The muscular endurance rep range starts at 12 reps and higher. This rep range is where I start most of my clients who are just starting out to build up their muscular endurance. You may put on some muscle mass in this stage but it won’t be much because you are engaging your slow-twitch, type 1 muscle fibers that have limited hypertrophy ability. Nonetheless, I have found that this rep range can really accelerate muscle gains when someone transitions to a muscular hypertrophy program because their muscular endurance is high. People who are most likely to train in this rep range are endurance athletes such as runners, rowers, etc. This is also a great rep range for aging adults as well who may not have the strength to lift much weight.

What To Take Away From This

After reading all this information, you may be asking, what is the big takeaway from this? You need to match your training regimen with your fitness goals so that you have the best chance to succeed. People can often become frustrated with their results, or lack thereof, when improper training methods are used.

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